California's Great America - Santa Clara, California
HEEEEYYY YOU GUUUUUUUUYS!
Intern here! I got out of the office for a day. Jim didn't approve it, because I wrote my name in on a media request to check out Railblazer at California's Great America. Shhhh don't tell him, because I think he really wanted to come up here, but I needed a mental health day after he yelled at me for eating his burrito.
Anyway, I flew up for the day to check out Railblazer. Now, if you've been living under a rock, here's the deal. This is one of TWO rollercoasters made from Rocky Mountain Construction. It's known as a 'raptor track', and is a prototype coaster. The track itself is about 15 inches wide, and a solid piece of steel, compared to the traditional tubular track you see on nearly every other steel coaster ever built. You sit single file on an eight train car, and you FREAKING FLY THROUGH THIS COURSE. More on that in a bit, here's photos.
Now here comes the part where I drool and bloviate about a coaster that's hands down one of the funnest and most intense coasters out there. Seriously, it's a small footprint, but the thing hauls ass and doesn't let up once it starts.
So I really love this ride. Like, it's stupid fun, because it's such a unique experience. The entire train doesn't really have a bad seat because you're sitting single file with not much surrounding you, offering up great view points. The front obviously has the most view, and you really feel the speed. However, the backseat has an INSANE amount of airtime, especially over the first drop and through the first inversion. I haven't had that much ejector airtime in a long time. In fact, I would dare say that my butt didn't land back in the seat until we were already under the rocks of the first drop. You really do stay out of your seat for a long time on that drop, and it's a hell of a lot of fun.
Now, to chat about the design of this...
Six Flags in Tex-ass decided to buy the same coaster. They opened theirs first, yay whoo-hoo, big whoop.
The difference on why CGA's is better is this: they didn't just drop their ride in a quarry and call it a day. Here, there's theming and a design that, after speaking to some people who've already ridden Wonder Woman and now Railblazer, claim that this feels faster and better because of the environment around it.
Overall, this area of the park is transforming into a Northern California 'mountain' zone, and it's awesome. It's new-age, but still feels rustic. Also unlike Six Flags, you get to get a lot more up close and personal with the rollercoaster (shut up, you dirty bird you...)
They focused a lot on utilizing space here. The queue wraps in and around the coaster, and actually at one point under the track to pop up into the station to board.
So after a while they held the grand opening ceremonies. The teams said some fantastic pleasantries, and BOOM. Ribbon cut and Railblazer was open!
Then, as soon as it was open, the general public did what they do best: ignore the walkways designed for them and climb over where they shouldn't. This is the only shaming we'll do. BE SHAMED, PEOPLE.
This is exactly why we can't have nice things. On a happier note, we'll close out with more glamour shots of this awesome new ride. I can't say enough great things about it, and they're all accolades that are very well deserved for this team and park. I'm saying it now. California's Great America is going to have a great future ahead of them if this is the direction they're headed. I can't wait to see what comes next...
On a final note...